Freedom of expression groups protest shutdown of community station in Ecuador

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Fundamedios, and Reporters without Borders (RSF) spoke out against the government shutdown of La Voz de la Selva Esmeralda Oriental community radio station in the southeastern Ecuadoran city of Macas, Radio Tierra reports.

According to Fundamedios, local police cut cables and confiscated the station’s transmitters, which owner Wilson Cabrera called “abuse and sabotage.”

In September 2010, the state telecom agency ordered the station’s frequency revoked and in December it ordered the police to shutdown the station, the CPJ explains. “CPJ condemns the arbitrary shuttering of Voz de la Selva Radio, a measure that appears to be in retaliation for the station's criticism of local authorities,” said Carlos Lauría, the group’s senior program coordinator for the Americas.

RSF called for the government to review the way frequencies are given and the institutions responsible to prevent political pressure from forcing the closure of independent stations.

Community stations in VenezuelaMexico, and Honduras have are also struggling in the face of similar attacks and harassment from the authorities.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.